The Battle of Self-Condemnation
As the day began, I had high hopes that the day would go smoothly. Unfortunately, things quickly spiraled as my children’s virtual schooling became too much, the little ones started fighting, my office called with work problems and the dog decided my new rug was her newest potty spot. Before mid-morning, my hopeful outlook of a “peaceful day” was long gone. I was overwhelmed, annoyed, and angry that things were not going the way I had planned. The school work was not getting done, the carpet was possibly ruined, and my stress level seemed to intensify by the minute. In my frustration, I lost my temper with my children, picked a fight with my husband and carried around a sour attitude the rest of the day.
Later that night, lying in bed, I felt overwhelmed with guilt for how poorly I had handled the pressures of the day. Instead of looking to the Lord for strength in times of pressure, I allowed myself to become irritable, moody and easily angered. I was filled with regret, disappointment in myself, and questioned my worth and purpose. How could He ever use me for His work when I am obviously so prone to sin?
It is easy to agree with the enemy that we should be filled with guilt and hopelessness for God’s ability to use us when we have “messed up.” But friend, this is not from God, as condemnation is never from Him. He is gentle and gracious with us and when He convicts us about our sins, it leads us back towards Him to a place of forgiveness and hopefulness. He does not see us as a lost sinner but as the saved child we are through the lens of Jesus’ redeeming work done on the cross, and we are robed in His righteousness (Isaiah 61:10). Condemnation is always from the enemy. We imagine God is critical of us because we are critical of ourselves. In our minds, we replay the failures and wish for a do-over. We have trouble forgiving ourselves, accepting grace and moving forward. But here is the beautiful truth: even when our heart is overly-critical and condemns us, He does not: “for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything.” (1 John 3:20 ESV) God knows everything about you: your weaknesses, shortcomings, motivations behind all your actions, thoughts and secrets. He knows these things but still calls you “chosen” and loves you despite them.
And the craziest thing is this: He does this not for us, but for Himself: “I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins.” (Isaiah 43:25 ESV) His love for you is so intense that He erases your sins and does it because He wants you as His that much. Allow yourself to fully receive the grace He has for you and let His love light shine in your heart to reveal the way He sees you as pure and blameless in His sight.
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, I am wrestling with feelings of guilt and shame that are weighing down my heart and stealing my peace. I am so grateful to know that even when my own heart is condemning me, You are not. Thank You for always forgiving all of my sins. Give me eyes to see myself as You see me: loved, righteous and forgiven. Help me to release my burdens to You now, making me free to move forward in Your good plans and purposes for my life. Fill my heart and mind with Your refreshing promises and Your perfect peace. Amen.